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Debt Free Direct calls competitors to account over advertising

22 November 2006
Debt Free Direct has appealed to the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) to condemn allegedly misleading claims made about debt management products such as IVAs in advertising by its competitors.

Debt Free Direct's insolvency director Derek Oakley told the Times that "dodgy advertising" from at least a dozen competitors, including Accuma and Spectrum, had been identified in a dossier compiled by the company to be submitted to the ASA.

Mr Oakley said that competitors sometimes exaggerate how far a debt management company can write off debts to banks and other lenders.

"We believe people with debts are morally obliged to repay them. It is not right to help people avoid their legal liabilities," a spokesperson told the Guardian.

Debt Free Direct hopes to lead the industry ethically by avoiding mis-selling IVAs, and is pushing for a system of accreditation to enable customers to distinguish between more and less trustworthy IVA firms.

"Regulation hasn't caught up with the reality of the growth in IVAs," Mr Oakley told the Times.

According to the British Bankers' Association, the number of people entering into IVAs in the third quarter of 2006 was 117.9 per cent more than a year ago.

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